Sunday, 6 February 2022

Getting back to normal!


Thankfully, things seem to be starting to get back to normal and spring is just around the corner. That means that our monthly lunches, with informative and entertaining speakers, are back on. Just in case you haven't heard of us before, The Wolverhampton Women's Luncheon Club was started in 1932 for local women to enjoy lunch and have interesting talks on a wide variety of subjects. We meet meet 9 times a year, usually on the last Wednesday of the month, at Linden House, Tettenhall Road, Wolverhampton.

There is an annual subscription which is £30, to cover the cost of the speakers. Lunch is currently £18 and lunch is served at 12.45pm although members usually arrive before that time for a chat and a drink. Meetings generally end by 3.30pm. Please do feel free to contact us for more information, or to book your place at our next lunch. New members are always welcome.

Upcoming Events:

  • 23 February 2022 - Amanda Bryett- "The Perils and Pleasures of a Blue Badge Tourist Guide"- A look at guiding tourists from around the world through the major London and Windsor tourist sights including the rigorous training required and the tools of the trade.

  • 30 March 2022 - Judith Holder- "The Baby Bloomers Guide to Growing Old" - A light-hearted look at how age is changing, pensioners are living longer and aren't going quietly - laughter all the way.

  • 27 April 2022 - Jo Hampson- "It's a Fair Cop" - A former Chief Superintendent will talk about her career.
  • 25 May 2022 - Alan Mason- "It's a Gardener's Life" - A humorous look at Alan's 30 years of gardening from student to TV presenter and garden designer.
  • 29 June 2022 - Hugo Vickers- "The Queen's Platinum Jubilee".
  • 28 September 2022 -Paula Cornwell- "Mind Your Motor Matters" - Travel back to 1928 with an upbeat interactive talk based on the writing of the Hon. Mrs Victor Bruce as she encourages women to "Get behind the wheel".
  • 26 October 2022 - To be confirmed.

  • 30 November 2022 - Chris Knight- "I am what I am" - Part of British tradition and no pantomime would be complete without a Panto Dame

  • 25 January 2023 - AGM - Members only.

Prospective new members are very welcome to undertake a taster meeting without payment of a subscription - the lunch must be paid for.

Any dietary requirements can be accommodated if notified to the luncheon secretary by the Friday before the meeting.

Men may be invited by members to the November meeting only.

For further information, please do get in touch with us.

Monday, 27 September 2021

Wolcome back!

Finally, after many months of uncertainty, we are pleased to resume our lunches with speakers, as before. We always welcome new members, but request that you contact us beforehand so that we can book you a place. Of course, it will be lovely to welcome back our existing members too. 

29th September 2021 

Speaker: Antonia Keaney
Subject:  Ladies of Blenheim - an entertaining look at the ladies of Malborough/Churchill family.

29th October

Speaker: Max Keen
Subject: The English Civil War in our local area. 

24th November

Speaker: Jeremey Mainwearing Burton
Subject:  The Castle of Mey - a former Equerry to the Queen Mother at Castle Mey
(Guests are invited to this meal)

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Jamie Sutherland: Comedian

Photograph © Jamie Sutherland
Although it seemed a little premature, we held our Christmas Lunch on 28th November. There were many compliments about the festive air as we walked into the dining room: the tables were laid out with a red and green theme with crackers and an evergreen table decoration in the centre, which had been made by Committee members. The candles were lit, crackers were pulled and the party began...

Our honoured guests included the Mayoress and the Deputy Mayor plus some men who enjoyed the once a year privilege of joining their partners for lunch. Simon Bott, proprietor of Linden House, provided some musical entertainment by playing the piano whilst we enjoyed a delicious and traditional Christmas lunch.

Following the meal, we were entertained by Jamie Sutherland, a rising young comedian from Liverpool. He opened by saying how amazed and delighted he was to perform in front of an audience where there was not a single mobile phone, camera or other electronic device in sight! He had noted that his audience had been talking to each other whilst eating, rather than silently glued to some machine.

He quickly had our full attention with amusing jokes and stories with some audience participation. Looking around, he summarised our average age by referring to SAGA which he translated as Some Awake – Some Asleep! He mentioned his working background which has included being a cruise ship entertainer which he really enjoyed. In an endearing way, he joked about his own family and friends, particularly his son who seems to be taking after him. He provided much amusement, leaving his audience clutching their sides from the continuous laughter. It was an excellent way to bring our lunches for 2018 to a happy conclusion at the end of another successful year.

Dr Michael Leach: Animals Behaving Badly


Photograph © Michael Leach
As Dr. Leach has spoken on several occasions at our meetings, we were all looking forward to this month's entertainment. He is a renowned zoologist, BBC wildlife photographer who has travelled widely and has written many books describing his journeys and experiences.

He began by telling us that he had spent a summer in the Amazon rainforest with a tribe of people who live in abject poverty but are very resourceful, making the most of what few possessions they have. 

He then showed pictures of many animals and birds from around the world. We were amused to see how an orangutan used his intelligence to steal some bananas that were in a boat, which had been tied up to a wooden jetty but was floating freely at the end of the rope. Firstly, he eyed the bananas greedily and then had a tantrum when he realised they were just out of his reach. He then had to plan how he could reach them and pulled out some of the planks of wood from the jetty which he placed so as to bridge the gap between jetty and boat. He was then able to use his bridge to board the boat grab hold of the bananas and return to the jetty; he had achieved his mission and stomped off almost with a smile on his face.

Next, we were shown lemurs in Madagascar waking up and warming themselves in the first rays of the morning sun. They like to eat whole flowers and can become affected by the narcotics in the flower centres, producing odd behaviour. He had also observed velvet monkeys in the Caribbean who normally prefer to eat one variety of banana but on this occasion had found the remains from a village party. They were shown drinking the dregs of alcohol from bottles left lying on a table. The influence of the alcohol made us laugh as they staggered off chasing goats.

Michael finished his talk by telling us that new behaviour in animals was being recorded all the time. In particular it shows how humans living in close proximity with them, can alter their historic ways of life.


Sunday, 4 November 2018

Malcolm Castle: Fire Fighting in Shropshire

Photograph © Malcolm Castle
This month, we were entertained by fire fighter and author, Malcolm Castle, who talked mainly about the humorous side of fire fighting. He joined the Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service when he was 18 years of age in 1980 and served for 32 years on Red Watch, based at Shrewsbury Fire Station. 

Malcolm told us that when a call is received, the crew can get dressed and ready to travel within 35 seconds in the daytime and within 53 seconds at night. New recruits are given the title the jockey, and to keep the rest of the team entertained (in quiet moments, of course) they're sent by senior members on foolish errands, which are said to be character building!


Like many others employed in the emergency services, he has a great sense of humour is able to see a funny side to the job, which might help him come to terms with the more harrowing situations he has had to deal with. He talked amusingly about some of the calls (or shouts) they received, such as being sent to rescue animals in odd situations. One case was of a cat that was supposedly stuck in a chimney but after some time was found to be shut in a log box by the fireside. 

Another incident involving a horse trapped in a slurry pit was described in such a way as make us all laugh due to the sticky situation they found themselves in, but also feel sorry for both the horse and the rescuers.  Of course, there were also many serious shouts such as rescuing people trapped in road accidents, as well as fires, which he described as both exciting and challenging.

Malcolm has written several books about his long and varied career, including All Fired Up and Great Bales of Fire, showing the lighter side of a fire fighter's job. He also likes to act and produce plays which was evident in his delivery and description of his past work, and has also helped the BBC as a fire adviser for various programmes, one of which is Casualty.

Whilst Malcolm had entertained and amused us for nearly an hour, we were conscious of the skill and bravery exhibited by fire fighters who are willing to risk their lives to save others. This was recognised in the vote of thanks to Malcolm for his talk.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Dickie Arbiter: Press Secretary to HM The Queen

Photograph © Dickie Arbiter
My first impression of Dickie Arbiter was that he had a good sense of humour, as he immediately referred to his brightly coloured and eye dazzling hand-made silk tie - this was apparently one of a large collection of flamboyant ties for which he is well known.

Dickie retired in the year 2000, after nearly 50 years as a journalist, royal commentator and as press secretary to HM The Queen. He has a vast knowledge of the Royal Family and now gives talks about his experience of working for the family. After giving us a brief history of the monarchy, he told us how much he respects Her Majesty for her continuing hard work and her devotion to her duties.

The Queen is now of an age when most members of the public would have long since retired, yet she still attends many events and rarely shows signs of fatigue. Dickie told us that she is a very down to earth person who loves her corgies, being in the countryside, driving her land-rover and riding her horse whenever time permits. When she stays at Balmoral, she and the family get together and have informal barbecue lunches in a log cabin. There was one occasion when Dickie was invited - after the meal, he was about to wash the dirty dishes; he then sensed somebody was behind him and thinking that it was one of the family, said “You wash and I will dry.” He was embarrassed when the Queen replied, “No, you wash and I will dry.”

Both the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were really upset when the Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned: it showed on The Queen's face, as tears welled up in her eyes. They had spent so many happy and private times with their family when they were on board with no prying cameras or journalists spoiling their special occasions. Britannia sailed worldwide and was not only used by the Royal Family, but also by business people and ambassadors with many important and valuable contracts being signed on board.

Disaster struck the Family in 1992, when three of the Queen's children got divorced within a short time of each other and there was much scandal reported in the press. Then this was followed by the fire at Windsor Castle, causing much damage to valuable assets and the building. The Queen kept her feelings hidden and rose above all of these problems but could not avoid referring to the annus horribilis in a speech at the London Guildhall marking the 40th Anniversary of her accession to the throne. She later had to cope with the death of Princess Diana and the resulting frenzy of media coverage.

The Queen is patron of numerous charities but she is now reducing the number with help from the younger members of her family. She has shaken hands with numerous people over the years, smiling most of the time and often standing outside in all weathers. Dickie said that she is driven by duty and will not step aside, as she made her vow to the country as a young woman and declared her whole life would be devoted to her people. 

Dickie ended by telling us how much he had enjoyed working with the Royal Family and sharing his numerous royal tales, without stepping out of line.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Ken Knowles: Lichfield's Town Crier

Photograph © Ken Knowles
Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! With a resounding voice and ringing his bell Ken Knowles, the Lichfield Town Crier, made a dramatic entrance and announced himself as our guest speaker.

Ken was a teacher for 37 years and, after retirement in 2009, he applied for the post and was appointed town crier. He looked resplendent in his uniform with his black tricorn hat, red embroidered jacket and black leggings with silver buttons each side from knee to ankle. His wife, Marilyn, who accompanied him, helped to design and make his costume.

Repeatedly ringing his bell, he made us want to listen to his proclamation...

We learnt that town criers seem to have originated in around 1066, when people would gather in town squares to hear news and proclamations. The word Oyez dates back to Norman times and means listen to this. Ken also told us of the history of Lichfield, which is regarded as a city of philosophers and has the motto Hail Great Mother. Lichfieldians are proud of their most famous resident Dr Samuel Johnson (born in 1709) and the magnificent St Chad's cathedral and the city's many other listed buildings.

Ken acts as sword bearer and Master of Ceremonies at official events and has travelled the world entering, and sometimes winning, town crier competitions. He usually has to compose verses for these events and he concluded his talk with one of his winning entries...it is obviously something he enjoys.

Amongst other stories, he made us laugh when he related the time he posed in full regalia for a local art group. We couldn’t imagine him sitting still for hours without telling stories and entertaining his audience. He is such a character, dedicated to his duties but full of fun, and we much enjoyed his informative, yet light hearted, talk.